Every day I speak to people going through different things. I speak to friends, family and colleagues going through all manner of different predicaments big and small but I also speak to those with MRKH.
I have the privilege as a friend, support contact and through my involvement with the charity MRKH Connect to be part of this community which welcomes women (and girls) at all ages, cultures, wherever they are in the world to share their often painful stories and seek solace, friendship and support in those others, that for all intents and purposes, are the only ones who can truly understand what it’s like to feel the way they do.
That feeling of sorrow, loneliness, confoundedness, frustration, anger. Those are feelings common in so many situations and for so many different reasons but it doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, how many years or at what stage of mine or their life we are in, the echoes and similarities are clear.
The echoes of their experience to my own life, my fears, my deep understanding of the effects and triggers this condition can bring. Whilst also showing the differences afforded by age at diagnosis, geographic location, locality to support and the strength and personality of those who are fighting to not let something like this be all consuming, because it really can be.
I was privileged to recently take part in an interview for a Psychology Masters student where the focus on the research was ‘Born Without’ and one component of the research was MRKH. I was privileged not just because of the subject which is so personal to me but because of who asked me. A friend and ally for so many years and the first person I ever met who also had MRKH. With long distances between us now we were able to reconnect like it was yesterday over something so important to us both.
The aim of the research is to investigate how women feel after being diagnosed with MRKH, what it means for them and how it has impacted them. (I hope to be able to share more on it when it is published)
Yet our experiences are so different. It was clear just between the two of us that with the same condition it had a significantly different manifestation in how we tried to deal with, understand and manage it.
Understanding and appreciating the differences between people, situations, diagnosis is one way to understand the challenges that we all face.
I try not to focus on the past too much. It’s gone. Hindsight, different situations, different decisions lead to a parallel spider web style reality that will never be solved and never be me. Yet through those interviews, and amongst more chuckling than we thought there would ever be about shoving an inanimate piece of plastic in a place it incomprehensibly did not want to go, I know that my feelings, my fears, my thoughts were no different to anyone else’s in that situation, at that time.
Despite the differences, with similarities comes the ability to provide comfort and sympathy whilst also hoping to inadvertently help others find their own way by sharing experiences, both good and bad.
I remember that fear, pain, sadness all too well but also the positives that it has afforded me and when I speak to people who recount their own stories to me so bluntly it reminds me of how far I have come and yet despite how different our experiences are, what stage our lives are at, that it is possible to find a way through even if it doesn’t feel like it.
I do know this isn’t easy for everyone. It wasn’t easy for me, albeit it may seem it now. Yet a big change in my life provided a turning point to a different direction, different thought and a very different way to how I approached it. I am also certain that it doesn’t always need a big life shake up to get to that point, its sometimes more just the willingness to do it.
This is not to say that it just goes away. It doesn’t and won’t and that’s just the way it is. But to be able to share our thoughts, feelings and support with each other is so powerful. The hardest thing is asking for that support in the first place and then, knowing you need it, where to find it.
A life changing situation, whatever that may be, has a profound affect on someone and it changes you. I have no idea if I would have come to the same conclusions in life or where I would be if I hadn’t got MRKH but it has had a huge impact.
There is no pass or fail in the test of life, just living. These things that happen are not there to trick us or indeed designed to test us in a negative way but more to show us the potential we do have.
Whether you believe in fate or not I do believe that everything happens for a reason even if that reason is unfathomable
“These things are sent to try us”